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Guest Blogger – Jane Wolterstorff

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day can be a conundrum for the HOY program.  The natural inclination of our students is to follow the school schedules that take two weeks off from studying during the holiday season.  Since the GED prep program at Steepletown is not a traditional school, we know learning can take place every day and we are committed to providing as many learning opportunities as possible.  So, the Youth Advocates and the Educational Coordinator put their heads together and decided to run some special events.

A Holiday Open House in the GED Lab was set for Monday December 29, during regular lab hours:  9:00 am to Noon and 4:00 – 6:00 pm.  The students were invited and encouraged to bring their families with them to decorate and eat cookies along with apple juice or hot chocolate.  Many students and their families had received Thanksgiving and Christmas Gift Baskets from The Parish of the Holy Spirit, so thank you cards were made from construction paper, glue, stickers, and markers.  It was amazing to see the students’ drawings along with the delightful scribbles of their little ones. If all that wasn’t fun enough, out came Apples to Apples, a game described as “hilarious, surprising and outrageous comparisons from a wide range of people, places, things and events.”  Although playing the game was fun, loud, and competitive, it also provided a wonderful opportunity to see the students’ personalities and senses of humor on display due to the relaxed atmosphere.  Because the game is filled with nouns, verbs, vocabulary, and synonyms a whole lot of fun learning was taking place without their realizing it.

Tuesday December 30th during lab hours, the students created their very own Roadmap to Success by drawing or using Microsoft Office to set goals for studying and completing the four tests that lead to earning their GED Certificate. Does that sound a little bit like a New Year’s Resolution?

All in all, the two days of special events turned out to keep many students engaged in learning in a fun, relaxed manner as well as deepening the relationships among all of us.

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